It’s easy to figure out which baby names appeared on all (or most) of the state-specific baby name lists for 2017. But what about the rare names that only made one or two state lists?
A total of 1,324 names appeared on just one state list, and a total of 1,198 names appeared on two state lists. (I analyzed boy names and girl names separately, though, so several of these names did show up on extra lists as the other gender.)
Here’s a selection of the baby names that appeared on just one state list last year:
Neyland, 41 boys in Tennessee (out of 53 nation-wide)
Roel, 23 boys in Texas (out of 50 nation-wide)
Ariza, 22 girls in Arizona (out of 31 nation-wide)
Marty, 21 boys in Ohio (out of 66 boys, and 13 girls, nation-wide)
Venice, 20 girls and 5 boys in California (out of 44 and 12 nation-wide)
Kinnick, 19 boys in Iowa (out of 29 nation-wide)
Benuel, 17 boys in Pennsylvania (out of 26 nation-wide)
Barbie, 16 girls in Pennsylvania (out of 29 nation-wide)
Kainalu, 16 boys in Hawaii (out of 23 nation-wide)
Mahina, 16 girls in Hawaii (out of 22 nation-wide)
Taysom, 14 boys in Utah (out of 24 nation-wide)
Hatcher, 10 boys in Alaska (out of 40 nation-wide)
Talmage, 10 boys in Utah (out of 20 nation-wide)
Atlee, 8 boys in Ohio (out of 25 boys and 32 girls nation-wide)
Cruzito, 8 boys in New Mexico (out of 25 nation-wide)
Nizhoni, 8 girls in Arizona (out of 21 nation-wide)
California, 7 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Griffey, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 21 nation-wide)
Kodiak, 7 boys in California (out of 30 nation-wide)
Rainier, 7 boys in Washington state (out of 24 nation-wide)
Alabama, 5 girls in California (out of 16 nation-wide)
Boomer, 5 boys in Texas (out of 33 nation-wide)
Cleveland, 5 boys in Florida (out of 28 nation-wide)
Crockett, 5 boys in Texas (out of 10 nation-wide)
Ole, 5 boys in Minnesota (out of 21 nation-wide)
A lot of these have easy explanations (e.g., Neyland Stadium, Kinnick Stadium, Mount Rainier, Taysom Hill) or are logical in some other way (like “Ariza” in Arizona).
Two that I couldn’t figure out, though, were Marty in Ohio and Barbie in Pennsylvania. My assumption regarding Barbie is that it’s popular among the Amish. (Benuel too.) But I have no clue about Marty. Is it college sports…?
And here’s a selection of the baby names that showed up on two state lists in 2017:
Hyrum, 36 boys in Utah and 15 in Idaho (out of 88 nation-wide)
Ammon, 24 boys in Utah and 6 in Pennsylvania (out of 64 nation-wide)
Fannie, 18 in Pennsylvania and 6 in New York (out of 45 nation-wide)
Avenir, 11 boys in Washington state and 6 in California (out of 31 nation-wide)
Reverie, 8 girls in California and 5 in Illinois (out of 26 nation-wide)
Sunshine, 7 girls in Arizona and 7 in California (out of 55 nation-wide)
I was confused about Avenir a few years ago, but I’ve since found the answer: it’s the Russian form of the Biblical name Abner. Avenir has been popping up on West Coast state lists (WA, OR, CA) lately, which makes sense given the fact that several West Coast cities have relatively large Russian-American populations.
Have you had a chance to go over the state lists yet? If so, did you spot anything interesting?
Valeska Suratt was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1882. Valeska was also a character name in multiple films, including For a Woman’s Honor (1919) and Broadway Scandals (1929).
Valli Valli was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Germany in 1882. Her birth name was Valli Knust. Alida Valli, often credited simply as Valli, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 2000s. She was born in Italy (now Croatia) in 1921. Valli was also a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film What a Widow! (1930).
Vedah Bertram was an actress who appeared in films in the early 1910s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1891. Her birth name was Adele Buck.
Vedah, who died of appendicitis at the age of 20 in 1912, “became the first noted film player to be mourned by the movie-going public.” According to the San Francisco Call, her East Coast family had not been aware of her film career. “Hoping to keep her actions from her friends and relatives, she assumed the name under which she has been acting.”
Vee Newell was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Hello Sister (1930).
Velma Whitman was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Velma was also a character name in multiple films, including The Greatest Menace (1923) and The Lone Wolf’s Daughter (1929).
Vermuda was a character played by actress Martha Sleeper in the short film Sure-Mike! (1925).
Verna Mersereau was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1894. Verna was also a character name in multiple films, including His Temporary Wife (1920) and Here Comes Carter (1936).
Vesta Tilley was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1910s. She was born in England in 1864. Her birth name was Matilda Alice Powles. Vesta was also a character name in multiple films, including The House in Suburbia (short, 1913) and The Duke of Chimney Butte (1921).
Vilma Banky was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) in 1898. Vilma was also a character name in multiple films, including Federal Agent (1936) and Meet the Boy Friend (1937).
In Pierre, South Dakota, we visited the capitol building. It was quite nice on the inside:
In one hallway, we found a few display cases featuring photos of former South Dakota first ladies/families.
Two names that caught my eye were Calantha and Borghild.
Calantha was the step-daughter of governor William Bulow, in office from 1927 to 1931.
She was the daughter of his second wife, Sarah. Sarah’s younger daughter, Venice, had died as a baby. Bulow’s children with his first wife, Katherine, were named Maurene, William Jr., and Kathleen.
Borghild was the sister of governor Nils Boe, in office from 1965 to 1969.
Nils wasn’t married, so Borghild served as first lady while he was governor. Their parents were Norwegian immigrants named Nils and Sissel (Sissel is a form of Cecilia). Their three sisters were named Karen, Dagney and Lois.